Principles of Sustainability

Dresner, Simon (2002) The Principles of Sustainability. London: Earthscan.
Did you enjoy reading dense textbooks about philosophy in college? Nah, me either. That’s why I didn’t like this book. It reads the same way: so-and-so thought thus-and-such. Then someone else thought something else. Then someone else came along. And I just want to scream at the writer, ‘But what do YOU think? What’s important here?’ There are undoubtedly important insights here but I just don’t have the patience to wade through it all. I would have preferred an article.

Green Guide

National Geographic Society (2008) Green Guide: The complete reference for conserving wisely. Washington DC: National Geographic Society.
This is a nice reference guide that covers the gamut of household decisions, even roofing and pets.

Stakeholder Strategy

Svendsen, Ann (1998) The Stakeholder Strategy: Profiting from Collaborative Business Relationships. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Heart of Change

Kotter, John P (2002) The Heart of Change: Real-life Stories of How People Change their Organizations. Boston, MA: Harvard School Press.
A nice, succinct book on how to help organizations make transformational change. It’s organized around 8 steps of change:
Increase urgency
Build the guiding team
Get the vision right
Communicate for buy-in
Empower action
Create short-term wins
Don’t let up
Make change stick

Our Iceberg is Melting

Kotter, John (2005) Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions. New York: St Martin’s Press.
I thought this was going to be a book about climate change and how to adapt to it. Instead, it was an allegory with penguins faced with a need to change their society. You can probably imagine the characters: the cassandra who sees the problem, the naysayers, and executive sponsor, etc. You get the idea. It’s perky and takes very little time to read with a giant typeface, and it sports cute illustrations of human-like penguins.

Global Shift

Bourne, Edmund (2008) Global Shift:How a New Worldview is Transforming Humanity. Noetic Books.

Logic of Life

Harford, Tim (2008) Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World. Random House.
This book is similar to Freakonomics in that it exposes how an economist approaches understanding various phenomenon in life. In this book, he takes on street crime, racism and other topics. But the topics seemed so random that I suspected each chapter was a different lecture. There was no coherence and the so-what was never answered. The book was interesting but frustrating in that it didn’t fulfill its promise.

Transition Handbook

Hopkins, Rob, (2008) The Transition Handbook: From Oil dependency to Local Resilience. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green.

Step by Step Guide to Sustainability Planning

This is a 'cookbook' or facilitators guide for how to create a sustainability plan and report. Obviously we can't review our own book, but here's what Bob Willard had to say:
“This is a fantastic resource for sustainability champions who want to transform an organization. The book supports its step-by-step guidance with examples and a cornucopia of practical checklists, forms, and tools to ensure success. Marsha and Darcy are experienced masters of the art and science of organizational change. Their latest book is a must-have resource for serious sustainability professionals.”

Sustainable Value

Laszlo, Chris (2008) Sustainable Value: How the World’s Companies are Doing Well by Doing Good. Sheffield, UK: Greenleaf Publishing.
Laszlo intends this book not for the sustainability professional but rather the not-yet-tuned-in executive. It’s basically three books in one. It starts with a fictional account of an executive’s transition to understanding sustainability. Next it provides a set of high-profit case studies (DuPont, Wal-Mart, Lafarge and NatureWorks/Cargill. Last, the book basically summarizes Laszlo’s previous work on creating value. He identifies 8 disciplines: